1 yr old does not know how to play? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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1 yr old does not know how to play?

Hi everyone,
We adopted a 1 yr old GSD from Carissima Kennels last week. He is great so far. My kids were excited to be able to (eventually) play ball with him etc... However, he does not seem to have any idea how to play? He spent his 1st year of life with the breeder and he was kept with the other dogs. They were going to keep him for shows but decided that we could adopt him. I don't think he ever had the opportunity to play ball or with a Kong or anything like that. He has some training and seems to be very smart
Any tips on showing him how to play with a ball or something? We roll the ball around him and he just looks at us like "what are you people doing?"
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thx
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 01:47 PM
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Give it time... I brought my 1st GSD home from the breeder and every day for 2 weeks we came home to a pile of **** in the house.

It did not matter if we were gone for 15 minutes he would leave us a gift. On our 1st walk we approached a fire hydrant and he just started barking at it because of the smells I am sure and because he had never seen one before.

My choice of toy would be a squeaky soft fuzzy thing on a rope that you can snap away from him which will get him to chase it. Mine was attached to a pole.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Malibu View Post
Give it time... I brought my 1st GSD home from the breeder and every day for 2 weeks we came home to a pile of **** in the house.

It did not matter if we were gone for 15 minutes he would leave us a gift. On our 1st walk we approached a fire hydrant and he just started barking at it because of the smells I am sure and because he had never seen one before.

My choice of toy would be a squeaky soft fuzzy thing on a rope that you can snap away from him which will get him to chase it. Mine was attached to a pole.
Thanks Malibu. I will make another trip to PetSmart today to find something. He likes to play tug of war with my dish towels. I don't want to encourage playing with my dish towels though lol
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 01:59 PM
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Be careful with tug of war . I don't do it until I know what my dog is all about because I feel it encourages biting and being aggressive and their is a time and a place for that. I don't think you are there yet.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Be careful with tug of war . I don't do it until I know what my dog is all about because I feel it encourages biting and being aggressive and their is a time and a place for that. I don't think you are there yet.
Thank you very much Malibu. You are right, we are not there yet. No tug of war with anything.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:30 PM
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Congratulations on the newest addition to the family!

Maybe he did spent his first year of life there without toys, that would explain why he's acting this way. I think you should ask the breeder how was his life, if he was well socialized, etc. Make sure he doesn't have any food aggression, or resource guarding. If he never had any toys before, he certainly can be jealous of the ones he will have now. Make sure to do the right introduction as you don't want to have a possessive dog I'm sure.

I think a flavored chew toy for him would be good, I've heard Nylabone is good as long as the dog's not a heavy chewer.

Regarding the ball maybe you could try to play fetch with him? Throw the ball and grab it yourself a few times, maybe he will get interested? And if/when he's playing along you can reward him with a treat (if he's food motivated).

Good luck
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by GSDenthusias View Post
he just looks at us like "what are you people doing?"

This gave me a good laugh.......I'm guessing my dog thinks that about many things I do.......




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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:46 PM
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Same thing with my pup (though I brought him home early) he didn't know how to play. I remember the 1st time I threw a ball and he literally just looked at the ball and then looked at me like 'Ok, what was that, mum?' Lol. It takes time for them to get it! But remember GSDs are ridiculously smart. My boy has been retrieving balls at 9-10 weeks of age. All I did was praise like a crazy person everytime he brought back the ball.

Now tug o' war. I respectfully disagree with Malibu. Tug o' war doesn't encourage aggressive behaviour, especially if he's taught from the beginning that the rope belongs to the top dog. I've taught my dog 'Let go' since day 1. I NEVER let him win (in the course of 14 months I've had him I probably let him win like 5 times when he was tiny). Everytimes he lets go, he has to sit down, and then I wait for his mouth and face expression to relax, and then I ALWAYS praise. That's how he learnt that yes, I will engage in a tug o' war if you behave, and you will get: playing time and extra affection from me. He also plays tug o' war with my 4 year-old nephew. I always stand behind my nephew so my dog can still look at me, and everytime he doesn't listen to my nephew 'Let go' I make a sound with my fingers to get his eye contact, shake my head and then he lets go. It's really good training tool to establish who's in control, in my opinion. But ONLY in a controlled environment! If tug o' warring at a dog park or daycare, that's a whole other doggo stuff.

Try and engage your boy in puzzle toys too. They love it.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:54 PM
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I, personally, want my dog to win when playing tug with me because winning is FUN. I don't think it promotes aggression in any way.


There are a few posts about a 2 ball game of fetch that may help teaching the retrieve. Theres actually a sticky'd post for it: https://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...ing-balls.html
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by McGloomy View Post
Same thing with my pup (though I brought him home early) he didn't know how to play. I remember the 1st time I threw a ball and he literally just looked at the ball and then looked at me like 'Ok, what was that, mum?' Lol. It takes time for them to get it! But remember GSDs are ridiculously smart. My boy has been retrieving balls at 9-10 weeks of age. All I did was praise like a crazy person everytime he brought back the ball.

Now tug o' war. I respectfully disagree with Malibu. Tug o' war doesn't encourage aggressive behaviour, especially if he's taught from the beginning that the rope belongs to the top dog. I've taught my dog 'Let go' since day 1. I NEVER let him win (in the course of 14 months I've had him I probably let him win like 5 times when he was tiny). Everytimes he lets go, he has to sit down, and then I wait for his mouth and face expression to relax, and then I ALWAYS praise. That's how he learnt that yes, I will engage in a tug o' war if you behave, and you will get: playing time and extra affection from me. He also plays tug o' war with my 4 year-old nephew. I always stand behind my nephew so my dog can still look at me, and everytime he doesn't listen to my nephew 'Let go' I make a sound with my fingers to get his eye contact, shake my head and then he lets go. It's really good training tool to establish who's in control, in my opinion. But ONLY in a controlled environment! If tug o' warring at a dog park or daycare, that's a whole other doggo stuff.

Try and engage your boy in puzzle toys too. They love it.
Thank you McGloomy. I hadn't thought about it that way but I will try playing Tug o war your way and see how it goes. I need to go out and buy a rope or something similar at Petsmart tomorrow.
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